Fox News Publishes Push Poll, Pushes Amnesty

Article author: 
Jon Fere
Article publisher: 
Center for Immigration Studies
Article date: 
28 January 2014
Article category: 
National News
Article Body: 

Nearly all of the polls allegedly showing public support for amnesty suffer from the same defect: they are designed to "push" respondents towards a certain answer. In other words, they are written in a way designed to elicit a pro-amnesty result...


The latest flawed poll comes from Fox News, and many other pro-amnesty news outlets have jumped to report the results... But a closer look at the way the options are worded suggests that the poll was designed to advance a pro-amnesty agenda, rather than to measure public opinion on legalizing illegal aliens and doubling legal immigration.

The question and available responses are worded as follows:

Which of the following comes closest to your view about what government policy should be toward illegal immigrants currently in the United States? Should the government ...

1) Send all illegal immigrants back to their home country

2) Have a guest worker program that allows immigrants to remain in the United States to work, but only for a limited amount of time

3) Allow illegal immigrants to remain in the country and eventually qualify for U.S. citizenship, but only if they meet certain requirements like paying back taxes, learning English, and passing a background check

4) Don't know

The pollsters found that 15 percent support option 1, while only 13 percent support option 2, and 68 percent support option 3. Three percent answered "Don't know".

Of the answer options, the poll really attempts to frame illegal immigration as a choice between Option 1 (enforcement) and option 3 (amnesty). The guestworker option and the "Don't Know" option received the least support. Of course, even the guestworker response is flawed in that it explains guestworkers will only remain in the country "for a limited time" when, in reality, there is nothing more permanent than a temporary guestworker.

The first option, which might be described as the pro-enforcement option, is a nine-word-long response: "Send all illegal immigrants back to their home country."...

Option 3, the pro-legalization option, is quite different. If the pollster were interested in it paralleling option 1, it would been shortened to read, "Allow illegal immigrants to remain in the country."..

Instead, option 3 is 32 words long — over three times the length of the pro-enforcement option — and includes squishy language that lets the respondent fill in the blanks with whatever he can imagine, allowing him to eliminate any perceived harshness or lack of nuance...

The pro-legalization response includes two very problematic open-ended clauses, and most polls purporting to show wide public support for amnesty suffer from similar defects. The phrase "eventually qualify" could mean anything,..

The second problematic clause is "meet certain requirements". The poll gives the two examples that have never existed in any amnesty proposal ("pay back taxes" and "learn English"), but the wording leaves it to the respondent to imagine any type of "requirement" that he needs to justify the idea of legalizing illegal aliens...

It seems that amnesty advocates and their pollsters cannot ask straightforward questions. They know that if they were to do so, public sentiment against doubling legal immigration and legalizing illegal aliens would become obvious. So they resort to writing the same push polls with problematic wording over and over and over.

A good poll — like this one, conducted by the Center for Immigration Studies — keeps the language simple and looks at the immigration issue from a variety of angles...

Interestingly, the Fox News poll also found that only 2 percent of respondents listed "immigration" as the most important issue for President Obama and Congress to be working on right now. This was behind the economy and jobs, the federal deficit, health care, terrorism, and Social Security. Predictably, the generally pro-amnesty media is not making that the headline.